Amid the ongoing debate within the BJP on projecting Narendra Modi as the prime minister candidate, Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha, caused a flutter on Monday by making it clear that senior party leader LK Advani was not out of the race.
Swaraj, who is seen as being very close to Advani and not favourably inclined towards Modi, told Aaj Tak in an interview the party had not ruled out any leader including Advani for the post of PM.
“We cannot rule out anyone, but an appropriate decision will be taken at the right time (hum kisi ko rule out nahin kar sakte, sahi samay par sahi decision liya jayega),” she said when asked about the possibility of Advani being projected for the position.
Swaraj blamed the media for “cooking up” stories on the alleged rift between the BJP and the Janata Dal(U) on the issue of naming the PM candidate.
“Whatever is being said is just a creation of the media,” she said. “The BJP and JD(U) have no such issues. First, the BJP will decide if we want to project a PM candidate or not. If the party decides to project someone; then we will decide who it will be.”
She added that “since BJP has an alliance, it alone will not decide. The NDA will sit together and decide. The media is in a hurry whereas the BJP is not. The party will take the right decision at the right time. Whenever NDA decides to nominate someone, Nitish Kumar will also get an opportunity to have his say.”
Asked about BJP chief Rajnath Singh's description of Modi as the most popular leader, Swaraj said, “It is his personal opinion, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have other popular leaders.”
When asked if the government was in election mode or if there’s a possibility of a mid-term Poll, Swaraj said, “I can see a strong possibility of early polls. The election could take place six months before schedule.”